Once in a lifetime encounter
Even though they can only make limited amounts of products, it’s noticeable that they’ve made a collection of various kinds of oxen, which is this year’s zodiac. There are 20 different types of ornaments of oxen alone, using Oribe glaze, which is typical Minoyaki, and beautiful deep green or pink glaze that decorate it gorgeously. Besides these, they made 2 types of small sized ornaments, which include all 12-zodiac animals in one set. “It’s much easier to make the same products all the time but the more types of products the more customers are pleased with our products”, says Ito. Furthermore, there is a gallery in the corner of the workshop and all his works in the past are still on the display. “I don’t end the supply of these products so if the customer wants one of these I can make the same one.” Houdai-gama’s strength is small lot production of various kinds.
So why are there so many kinds of products? The reason behind it is Ito’s wish for customers to feel “Ichigo Ichie” (a once in a lifetime encounter). Particularly he focuses on the eyes during the production process. Black paint is used to draw the eyes and the positioning is very important. Ito’s thought is “So the eyes will meet”. Depending of the position of the pupil, the ornaments expression looks happy, gazing up, or life like. This is the benefit of hand making and what makes it special. “When the light hits the paint, the eyes sparkle as though its come to life. It makes me happy to hear customers choosing their ornaments by their eye contact with them.” For people to make a special bond with their ornaments, Ito continues to blow life into his works.